The next story in this series is by HOPEFM founder Emily Stengel. For those of you who don’t know Emily, she’s a mover and shaker and is incredibly motivated, but always with a smile and a great sense of humor.
During her time with HOPE, she managed the art market, booked bands (including Whiskey Shivers), lined up yoga and other wellness workshops and hung monthly art exhibitions in the HOPE Gallery. She’s also responsible for HOPE’s presence at Lollapalooza and the HOPE Farmers Market at ACL every year. These days, in between traveling all over the country for her job with C3 Presents, she’s on the board of Anthropos Arts and helps coordinate the Daniel Frouman Jazz Extravaganza at the Market every spring.
Thank you Emily for all that you do!
Find her story below…
The market was born out of serendipity, at least in my version of the story…
I met Andi on July 29 of 2009. One of fate’s catalysts had a feeling that she and I would do great things together, so we HAD to meet. Over hot tea in her apartment, we shared our stories. This happened to be days after Andi conceived the idea of starting a weekly market at Pine Street Station – it would be a community gathering space where farmers, artists and great causes join to promote healthy and creative lifestyles. Years of experience managing art markets at music festivals combined with an interest in nutrition, cooking, and local businesses, positioned me as a founding member and co-manager of the Market. Andi and I shook hands and off we went to start the HOPE Farmers Market.
Andi and Greg met around the same time. Greg graduated from the UT School of Architecture with an emphasis in community spaces. He would soon be the original Market Manager, and in charge of recruiting farmers and food vendors. He and I hadn’t met, but we weren’t strangers for long. You get to know someone pretty quickly when you cultivate a weekly project from the ground up. After 64 Sundays, countless meetings and two years on top of that, I now consider him family and his daughter my sweet godchild.
The initial months were spent recruiting vendors, a process much like the chicken/egg riddle. We needed vendors to draw the patrons and patrons to support the vendors. It was an exciting challenge; each time a farmer or business shared our vision and applied to participate, it felt as though we hit the jack pot. With a little bit of luck, great timing, and a lot of hard work, the HOPE Farmers Market debuted on October 25, 2009. From day one, the vendors, partners and unique artistic programs set the tone for the first lazy Sunday market in East Austin.
Enter Lizzie Garrett, who joined the market as a volunteer. She was a force – an incredibly driven, reliable, organized and tall lady from Virginia. She began to lead the volunteer program, then community programs and eventually, the entire Market. When I resigned in December 2010, Lizzie stepped up and eventually went on to become the first person to commit her time solely to the Market. With the foundation that we had laid, she collaborated with vendors and community partners to develop the marketing, programming and overall structure of the Market.
While only a few names were mentioned here, every single vendor, partner, volunteer, staff member and patron who ever visited HOPE Farmers Market is responsible for the Market’s success. As the Market moves on through different hands and on to a new location, each Sunday is a personal victory and a victory for East Austin.